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Who is the most effective goal scorer in San Jose Earthquakes history?

Well, that depends on how you measure goal scoring production, so let’s dive into the numbers.

Chris Wondolowski can score goals and chew gum . . . at the same time!
Lyndsay Radnedge | Center Line Soccer

When the question is asked as to who is the most prolific goal scorer in the history of the San Jose Earthquakes, the obvious answer is Chris Wondolowski. After all, following his stoppage time strike against Sporting Kansas City last weekend, Wondolowski now has 131 goals for the Black and Blue — tied for the most career goals scored for a single club in MLS with DC United legend Jaime Moreno.

Not surprisingly, given that Wondo also holds the team record for most minutes played (22208), the Quakes captain sets the standard for a host of statistical categories: games played (258), games started (246), goals (131), shots (759), shots on goal (333), game-winning goals (39), hat-tricks (4), multi-goal games (18), and penalty-kick goals (22). He even holds the record for goals per game at 0.51 — remarkable!

But when it come to efficiency, as measured by goals scored per 90 minutes played, Wondolowski is not at the top of the list all-time in San Jose. In fact, if looking at those players who have scored at least 10 goals for the Earthquakes — a list that is remarkably only 24 players long — Wondo sits at number three with 0.53 goals/90 min.

Who tops them all? Give yourself a pat on the back if you remember the epic season put together by Ariel Graziani back in 2002, when the Argentinean born, naturalized Ecuadorean international struck for 14 goals in 2289 minutes — a scoring rate of 0.55 goals per 90 minutes. Graziani was a one-year-and-done phenom for San Jose, but he was prolific enough to cement his name in Earthquakes lore.

If you go back to the start of last season, Wondolowski, bolstered by his MLS tying record of 27 goals in 2012 and his eight consecutive seasons scoring double digit goals, topped the Quakes goal efficiency list, but he’s dropped to number three since then. and he will need to put together an epic 2018 to again reach the top of the summit. If Wondo plays every minute of the Quakes remaining 32 games and scores 23 more goals in the process, he goes back to the head of the class.

But even if that scenario comes true, Wondolowski might still not get back to the number one spot on the list. How can that be? Well, the quiet assassin, Valeri “Vako” Qazashvili, has begun his Quakes career hitting the back of the net at a blistering pace. Since scoring on his MLS debut last July, Vako has notched seven goals in 15 appearances, including four in his last five games, and has a efficiency rate of 0.65. At Wondolowski’s peak, he reached 0.67; the Georgian striker looks like he can even surpass that level if he can continue his blistering start to 2018.

It is likely neither player cares who takes the efficiency title this season — if they are both challenging for the number one spot, it will be because they are scoring plenty of goals, and a return trip to the MLS Cup playoffs would be the reward. Perhaps even Wondolowski’s personal pick to win the MLS Golden Boot this season, Danny Hoesen, can get in on the fun. The Dutch striker has seven goals thus far for San Jose, and his rate of 0.31 goals per 90 minutes puts him behind Wondo and Vako, but a 20+ goal Golden Boot season would place him firmly in the top-ten.

Whoever is scoring the goals in San Jose this season, the Quakes have a potent offense that is going to challenge some records before the year is through. Be it Wondolowski setting the all-time MLS record when he hits number 146 and passes Landon Donovan, or Vako setting a pace for goals per game not seen since Wondo’s epic 2012, or even Hoesen topping the league on the goal scoring chart — the Earthquakes attackers are going to be an exciting group to watch.

San Jose Earthquakes best scoring rates per 90 minutes (minimum 10 goals)

  1. Ariel Graziani, 14 goals, 0.55 goals/90 mins
  2. Brian Ching, 25, 0.54
  3. Chris Wondolowski, 131, 0.53
  4. Lawrence Lozzano, 14, 0.47
  5. Alan Gordon, 18, 0.46
  6. Ronald Cerritos, 61, 0.443
  7. Paul Bravo, 13, 0.441
  8. Eric Wynalda, 21, 0.404
  9. Landon Donovan, 32, 0.397
  10. Missael Espinoza, 10, 0.38
  11. Steven Lenhart, 20, 0.36
  12. Dwayne De Rosario, 27, 0.35